View Full Version : Intermediate user - help with making movement of a space ship appear more realistic!

04-05-2013, 02:22 PM
Good evening all,

I consider myself an intermediate user of Lightwave, currently using 10, but am spending far too much time on something which may have a much easier solution?

I have a spaceship in my scene which the camera follows. I want to make the ship's movement as it dodge debris in it's way appear more fluid and natural.
To date, all I have been doing is manually keyframing the ship at particular points along it's motion path, but it's hit and miss to get it to feel like it has realistic physics as it twists and turns along the way.

In my head I would imagine a physical solution would be something akin to a null following the motion path, with the spaceship attached to the null with some kind of invisible elastic cable, so it dampens the sharp curves, pulling the spaceship along the path but not as rigid as simply the ship with it's own, manually keyed path. Imagine a toy airplane hanging from a rail above it, and how the toy would bank and turn as it hangs below the rail on corners and straights.

I'd love to hear from anyone who might be able to a) understand what I am trying to describe, and b) know of a possible solution!
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated :)

04-05-2013, 08:57 PM
Can you post a video of your animation?

Ryan Roye
04-05-2013, 09:25 PM
Hand keyed animation isn't a bad idea, and practice getting it right never hurts. After a while, it gets quite easy to achieve believable motions with nothing more than TCB curves. If you aren't using extremes (IE: looping, up/down) one can use "align to path" to deal with the ship's direction so you can just worry about bank and XYZ position, though an issue there is when you want the ship to turn sharper than its motion path's shape.

Whether you should try to automate the ship's movements in some way depends strongly on how long the animation is and the complexity of the movements. I have used the "elastic cable" setup you speak of to control cameras at some point, so I can tell you it does work for that purpose.